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Gildoragh has Dimensional Shackles. Gildoragh has Dimensional Step. Can Gildoragh apply the shackles to himself mid-step? When he does, where is he?

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Yes, but it's difficult

You'd need some sort of effect designed to put the shackles on you as soon as you left the material plane. An example of an effect with the required timing priority is Contingency. An example of an effect capable of activating the shackles on you mid-teleport is to also be wearing bracers of armor +1 or another cheap wrist slot item that counts as part of a suit of armor, yet also renders either both items or just the manacles non-functional, and then to use Instant Armor to replace said item, allowing the manacles to function.

Regardless of the method, if you do manage to equip the shackles, you do so on the Astral Plane, during your brief period there during your teleportation:

Powerful spellcasters utilize the Astral Plane for a tiny fraction of a second when they teleport

(from the planar description of the astral)

Whether or not you stay there, however, is unclear; dimensional shackles may not affect people who don them on the astral or ethereal, depending on how your DM interprets 'movement':

A dimensional anchor does not interfere with the movement of creatures already in ethereal or astral form when the spell is cast

And if you do stay there, it's very much unclear what happens to your teleportation effect.

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Short answer, no.

The rules for the Dimensional Shackles indicate that they function on 'any creature bound within them'. This tends to fit the description of a Use-Activated item. No further details are given about how to bind a creature within them, so it would be a GM judgement call. Lacking any other information, I would expect these items simply work when used, fitting best the condition

If the item’s activation is subsumed in its use and takes no extra time use, activation is not an action at all

from Use Activated items.

'Shackles', as a non-magical item, are not currently defined in Pathfinder rules. The closest we get to a definition for normal shackles are probably the spell of the same name, which summons either a set of manacles or fetters - both items work similarly, but don't actually have any rules on how to actually apply them to a creature, instead simply giving mechanics for how to deal with them once on.

Although it's never explicitly outlined in the rules for Grappling, manacles should be able to be applied in a similar manner to rope when used to Tie Up a creature.

Another very similar item, the Thorned Manacles, outright specify that you need to apply them to an already helpless creature, but again, don't actually specify any sort of action required.

So, in summary, to apply a set of Dimensional Shackles, you need to find some way to incapacitate or restrain your target first, which is generally not possible in the middle of Spell-like Ability.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The shackles are magical, I gave a link to the exact item. \$\endgroup\$ – raldy Apr 18 '18 at 1:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @raldy Yes, the shackles are magical, but the description gives zero indication they work any differently to nonmagical shackles, except for stopping teleportation. \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Apr 18 '18 at 1:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Lacking any other indicator, it falls to the GM to decide what it takes to actually 'equip' or use the shackles on somebody, and the default would be a Standard Action otherwise. Similar items take a Full Round action on a target who is helpless, restrained, or willfully standing still. \$\endgroup\$ – Ifusaso Apr 18 '18 at 2:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ I guess it's all a judgement call, really, since I wouldn't consider the lock there to be a similar item. \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Apr 18 '18 at 3:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ Suppose that a character with Greater Grapple is holding the wizard. He can then use his standard action to ready the action "make a new grapple check to tie up the wizard with the Dimensional Shackles". The wizard makes a concentration check to use his Dimensional Step ability, succeeds, and triggers the readied action. This allows you to apply the shackles at any point at which a readied action could be triggered. \$\endgroup\$ – Bainos Apr 18 '18 at 7:18
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You can't interrupt a teleportation mid-execution because it is instantaneous.

It is true that there are multiple ways in which you can interrupt a character's action. For example, immediate actions, readied actions and contingent spells are all able to interrupt the flow of actions and be resolved first.

Let's suppose that Gildoragh is capable of using one of these special actions that interrupt the initiative order to put on the manacles in some way (such as bringing with him another character with a readied action).

Dimensional Steps (Sp): At 8th level, you can use this ability to teleport up to 30 feet per wizard level per day as a standard action. This teleportation must be used in 5-foot increments and such movement does not provoke an attack of opportunity. (...)

This effect is a teleportation, which is defined in the magic rules.

Teleportation: a teleportation spell transports one or more creatures or objects a great distance. The most powerful of these spells can cross planar boundaries. Unlike summoning spells, the transportation is (unless otherwise noted) one-way and not dispellable.

Teleportation is instantaneous travel through the Astral Plane. Anything that blocks astral travel also blocks teleportation.

As you can see, the teleportation part of the action is an instantaneous effect. One moment you were at one place, the next instant you were somewhere else. Since it is instantaneous, there is no "mid-action" at which point you can react.

... but you can interrupt a Dimensional Step.

While the teleportation can not be blocked while it happens, the dimensional step itself could be. Suppose that a readied action to put on the manacles has the trigger "when Gildoragh activates his dimensional step ability". When the condition is met, the readied action is triggered and resolved.

Because Gildoragh is now affected by Dimensional Anchor, the teleportation fails. In that case, Gildoragh didn't move at all and remains at the same place.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I did not choose this answer because you mention "interrupting" the step which Gildoragh is not trying to do. He isn't trying to change the initiative order, but rather manipulate the fabric of reality. He's asking himself, "What happens when I enact two instantaneous effects? If one is more instant than the other, then I'll have performed a Rope Trick without saying a word." Pretty cool in his mind. \$\endgroup\$ – raldy Apr 19 '18 at 21:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ "What happens when I enact two instantaneous effects?" This is, by the rules, impossible. If you are asking what would happen if it was possible while recognizing that it is impossible (for which the accepted answer is correct), I think you should clarify this in the question to avoid confusion for future readers (who might wonder why that answer was accepted). \$\endgroup\$ – Bainos Apr 20 '18 at 9:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ This makes sense; I'll update the question. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$ – raldy Apr 20 '18 at 14:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ could you provide a reference for the rule you mention? I reviewed this again and as it stands I will not change the wording of the question because it preserves the meaning I shared with you above. \$\endgroup\$ – raldy Apr 24 '18 at 20:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Combat section, Ready action : "... anytime before your next action, you may take the readied action in response to that condition. The action occurs just before the action that triggers it." It happens before the triggering action, not during it. The section on Attacks of Opportunity uses a similar but less clear language, and the section on immediate actions doesn't give details on when the action is resolved. \$\endgroup\$ – Bainos Apr 27 '18 at 22:26

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